IDMH training for mental health professionals helps provide solutions for effective treatment of depression

The Institute for Disaster Mental Health (IDMH) at SUNY New Paltz hosted a two-day professional training on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression on Oct.8-9 to give mental health professionals from around the state the tools needed to help those recovering from debilitating depression symptoms.

SUNY New Paltz President Donald P.  Christian and Congressman Col. (Ret.) Chris Gibson welcomed the  more than 80 participants, which included social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists, chaplains, and others.

Congressman Gibson spoke of his own experiences while deployed in Iraq as a senior officer in the Army, trying to help young soldiers cope with their experiences. He acknowledged that challenges such as repeated deployments, separation from loved ones, and exposure to violence and injury can take a toll on just about anyone, including individuals and their families.

“It is imperative that military personnel and their families receive the best evidence-based mental health services because appropriate interventions can reduce the short and long-term impact of trauma on individuals and families,” noted Dr. James Halpern, IDMH director.

According to Halpern, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression is an empirically validated intervention that uses a structured, short-term, present-oriented approach to treatment, helping patients modify unhelpful patterns of thinking and behavior in order to resolve current problems.

“Often when we think of mental health and veterans we think of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but 14 percent of our military veterans are suffering from depression,” said Rebecca Rodriguez, IDMH program coordinator. “This training helps ensure that civilian providers in this area are capable of giving our military veterans the best care available, in a manner that’s sensitive to their values.”

This is the third Center for Deployment Psychology event hosted by IDMH, with trainings previously conducted on Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD, Military Culture, Sexual Assault, and Sleep Issues.

About IDMH
IDMH is a national leader in offering education and training in disaster mental health for students, professionals, and paraprofessionals. The Institute comprises scholars and practitioners dedicated to teaching, research, and service to the community in the area of disaster mental health.